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Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax$
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Eric Mathieu and Robert Truswell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198747840.001.0001

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Diachronic interpretations of word order parameter cohesion

Diachronic interpretations of word order parameter cohesion

(p.43) 4 Diachronic interpretations of word order parameter cohesion
Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax

John Whitman

Yohei Ono

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses statistical tools to investigate the interrelationship between typological features in the World Atlas of Language Structures Online (Dryer and Haspelmath 2013) in the WALS 201 language sample, with the objective of determining how crosscategorial word order generalizations might emerge as the result of syntactic change. Multiple Correspondence Analysis and a variety of cluster analyses show that word order features tend to group along the familiar lines of the Head Parameter. But there is an important caveat to this, previously noticed by Albu (2006): word order features in NP (e.g. [Order of noun and determiner], [Order of noun and adjective]) group separately from word order features in VP and PP, with the exception of [Order of noun and genitive]. We provide a diachronic explanation for this fact: nouns and their arguments may be reanalysed as PPs, or in the case of reanalysed nominalizations, clauses.

Keywords:   word order, reanalysis, statistical typology, Head Parameter, Chinese

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